We live surrounded by people who do not hold themselves in high esteem, perhaps with good reason. These people want the equality of all men to be immediately and forthwith proclaimed; equality before the law is not enough for them: they long for a declaration that all men are equal in talent, sensibility, refinement, and degree of feeling. Every day that goes by without the triumph of this unrealizable leveling is a cruel day for these resentful creatures, who feel themselves fatally condemned to form the moral and intellectual plebs of our species. Left to themselves, they taste gall and wormwood; it avails naught that, through minor intrigue, they succeed in playing showy roles in society; their apparent social success poisons their inner selves even more, revealing to them the un- stable disequilibrium of their life, threatened at every instant by a deserved fall; in their own eyes they appear as falsifiers of their own selves, as counterfeiters of a tragic specie, where the coin defrauded is the fraudulent person himself.
This state of the spirit, sodden with corrosive acids, is made most manifest i n those offices where the fiction concerning the missing qualities is least possible. Is there anything so s ad as a writer, a professor, or a politician without talent, without refined sensitivity, without lofty character?
How are these men, bitten by the knowledge of their intimate failure, to look upon men that cross their path breathing attainment and radiating a sound self-respect and self-esteem?
And thus it is that journalists, professors, and politicians without talent compose the High Command of envy, which, as Quevedo says, is so skinny and yellow because it goes about biting but does not eat.
What today we call “public opinion” and "democracy” are little but the purulent secretion of these spiteful souls.